The Significance of the Emblem
of the Knights of Columbus
The Third Degree Emblem dates back to May 12, 1883, when it was designed by James T. Mullon, then the first Supreme Knight. A quick glance at the emblem indicates a shield, mounted on a cross of Malta. The shield is that associated with a medieval knight. The cross of Malta is the representation in a traditionally artistic design of the Cross of Christ, through which all graces of redemption are procured for mankind. This, then, represents the Catholic spirit of the Order. Mounted on the shield are three objects; a mace standing vertically, and crossed behind it, an anchor, and a dagger or short sword. The mace from the Roman days is symbolic of authority, the anchor is the mariner's symbol of Columbus, patron of the Order, while the short sword or dagger was the weapon of the knight when engaged upon an errand of mercy. Thus, the shield expresses Catholic Knighthood in organized merciful action with the letters K of C, it proclaims the specific form of activity.
As the Order was founded in the United States, the national colours of that country, red white, and blue were incorporated in the background of the shield and the foreground of the cross of Malta. Red is the symbol of stouthearted courage; blue is the symbol of hope, and the calm tranquility under God; white is the symbol of noble purpose, of purity, of aim and high ideals to be carried out. The is also another symbolism in which red becomes the reflection of Christ's redemptive Blood shed upon Calvary, and of the martyr's blood shed in defence of our faith. Red is then the symbol of faith, of beleif in Christ, and in the mission of every man to spread the knowledge and love of Christ.
White is the colour of Eucharistic Host, pledge of God's Eucharisitc Presence among men, of the infinite love Gof has for men and the overwelming affection the Godman has for each individual. White is therefore the symbol of Christ-like Charity.
Blue is the colour of Our Lady's Mantel, in which she draped her beloved Son, through Whom salvation came to a sinful world. Blue, then, is the symbol of Hope.
BE PROUD OF YOUR EMBLEM! WEAR IT WITH PRIDE, ALWAYS! BE GLAD YOU'RE A KNIGHT.